Why the ransomware crisis suddenly seems relentless

Just weeks after a major US oil pipeline shocked by piratescyber attack hits The largest supplier of meat in the world. What’s Next? Will these criminals target hospitals and schools? Will they start hunting down American cities, governments, and even the military?

In fact, all of those are already infected by ransomware. While the attack we saw last month seems fresh, hackers holding services hostage and demanding payments have been huge work عمل for years. It has been dozens of American cities I broke down By ransomware, while Hospitals She was attacked even in the depths of the epidemic. And in 2019, . was released The US Army has been targeted. But this does not mean that what we see now is just a matter of consciousness. So what is the difference now?

It is the result of inaction

You cannot explain the spread of the ransomware crisis without examining years of American inaction. The global ransomware crisis has grown to incredible proportions during the presidency of Donald Trump. Even with the critical infrastructure of the United States, cities, And the oil pipelines The Trump administration has done little to address the problem, and it’s gone ignore him by most Americans.

The ransomware boom began at the end of Obama’s tenure in the White House, which he approached as part of his overall response to cybercrime. This involved putting agents on the ground around the world for tactical victories in otherwise uncooperative countries, but defending against such attacks has fallen off the priority list under Trump even as ransomware itself flourishes.

Today, the Biden administration is making an unprecedented attempt to address the problem. The White House said the hackers behind the Colonial Pipeline and GPS attacks are in Russia, with current efforts involving Homeland Security and the Department of Justice, but as President Biden plans to discuss the attacks at the upcoming summit with Vladimir Putin on June 16, the problem runs deeper than Just the relations between the two countries.

It is also the result of new tactics

When the ransomware industry was taking off half a decade ago, the business model for such attacks was fundamentally different – and much simpler. Ransomware gangs have started infecting vulnerable devices randomly without any care what exactly they do or who they target.

Today, the processes are more complex and the payments are much higher. Ransomware gangs are now paying specialized hackers.”big fishing game“And looking for huge targets that can pay huge ransoms. Hackers sell access to gangs who then extort. Everyone gets paid so great that it becomes increasingly irresistible – especially since gangs usually suffer no consequences.

There is a safe haven for criminals

This leads to the next dimension of the problem: hackers operate from countries where they can avoid prosecution. They run huge criminal empires and remain effectively immune to all attempts to rein in them. This is what Biden will present to Putin in the coming weeks.

The problem extends well beyond Russia and, to be clear, is not as simple as Moscow directing hackers. But the Kremlin’s tolerance of cybercriminals – and sometimes even direct cooperation with them – is a real contributor to the burgeoning criminal industry. To change that, America and other countries will have to work together for it face countries Who would otherwise see no problem with American hospitals and pipelines held for ransom. The safe haven of cybercriminals, along with the mostly unregulated cryptocurrency used to facilitate crime, has made it very favorable for hackers.

We are all more connected and insecure than ever before

Then there is the unavoidable fact that poor cybersecurity combined with ubiquitous connectivity equals increasingly vulnerable targets. Everything in America – from our factories to our hospitals – is connected to the Internet, but much of it is not sufficiently secured.

Globally, the free market has repeatedly failed to solve some of the world’s biggest cybersecurity problems. This may be because the ransomware crisis is a problem on a scale that no private sector can solve on its own.

As ransomware and cybercrime increasingly become a threat to national security – and one that risks harming humans, as in the case of attacks on hospitals – it has become clear that government action is required. So far, officials from the world’s most powerful nations have mainly succeeded in watching the disaster unfold.

While that, What must happen to change This is a global partnership between countries and companies to tackle ransomware on its head. There is momentum to change the status quo, including a A recent major executive order for cybersecurity outside the White House. But the work is only at the beginning.

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